Running a hospital: I was wrong. I am sorry.

I’ve been able to study Paul Levy’s management of BIDMC during several classes (more on that someday), and he’s a smart guy.  Which makes this dumbfounding, if humanizing:

The Board of Directors of BIDMC today issued the following statement, which has been distributed to the media and to the entire hospital community.

The Board of Directors of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, with the assistance of outside counsel, has completed its review of allegations made involving President and CEO Paul Levy. The review focused on a personal relationship with a former employee of the Medical Center. The Board found that over time the situation created an improper appearance and became a distraction within the hospital.

via Running a hospital: I was wrong. I am sorry..

Good for him, and I doubt this is going to be enough.  There’s a scandal worth and immediate $50K penalty and the threat of more in contract negotiations.

Time to call Oprah, or something, and do it All at Once.  Get it all out (and don’t hold back, a la Tiger), etc.  People will forgive bad judgment, they will pillory you for a cover up.

It’s going to come out, so Just Do It.


  1. I am perplexed by a few aspects of this since I saw Paul’s post in facebook and some of the comments there.
    Why would the BIDMC board deem it necessary to poke into the personal affairs of one of their employees, especially as it involves, in their own words, “a personal relationship with a former employee.” And this after an “outside counsel found that Mr. Levy did not violate hospital policy.”
    The glowing praise for his “bold voice of leadership on public policy” and expression of “full support and confidence in his continued leadership” notwithstanding, the combination of a huge pecuniary penalty and “threat of more in contract negotiations” hints at a political/administrative squabble in the BIDMC board.
    Paul must have made a few enemies during his tenure as CEO and I personally believe some of them may have brought their sharpened knives to the table.

    Full Disclosure: I’ve interacted with Paul on multiple occasions on twitter, facebook and our respective blogs and have met him personally once. And I think he’s a great guy.

  2. Jabulani says:

    I too am perplexed about this. Given all the evidence as is, I cannot see how it makes one whit of difference whether he conducted his personal life in this manner. The evidence holds out his excellence in his post, so what does it matter outside of that? He must have a bitch of a contract if the Board feel they hold sway over him outside of hospital hours! Either that, or the “former employee” was a spouse of someone on the Board … jus’ sayin’. I find I agree with one of the commentors on Paul’s own blog entry – his personal life is nothing to do with me. That line should not be blurred in the name of “transparency”. Are we now to suddenly be deluged with equally transparent accounts of everyone else on the Board?? Dear Heaven … However, I will – like Elizabeth Bennett in Pride and Prejudice – say this: “Perhaps we do not know ALL the particulars.”

  3. retiredpath says:

    As Vijay says, the statement that Mr. Levy did not violate hospital policy pretty much tells you all you need to know. Since I bet everybody but, perhaps, Wall Street has a policy against sexual relationships between CEO’s and subordinates, the conclusion is obvious – there wasn’t one, but tongues wagged anyway. The man has apologized – leave him alone to improve hospital quality, which certainly is sorely needed.

  4. I say, go get ’em Tiger

  5. I figure (not knowing the facts of this case, but having an idea of how organizations work) that the Hospital Boards’ response is due to two factors.

    First, it’s the civilian version of Conduct Unbecoming. There’s generally an obligation not just to be innocent of wrongdoing but to also appear innocent when you’re the leader of a big group, especially when your leadership requires a lot of buy-in based on ‘trust me’.

    Second, I’d bet the Board got surprised by this, and reacted forcefully to being surprised. Boards hate surprises, especially ones that land in the paper (as this undoubtedly will soon).

    There’s a lot of things that aren’t covered in contracts, but that doesn’t make them okay to do.

  6. Was the employee former or current while the relationship was going on? Not that that’s always wrong but those sorts of things can be disruptive to the work culture.